How Does Life Change Post A Brush With Death?

brush with deathWhat happens when a person has a brush with death? I have been pondering this question for decades.

To be clear, I’m not talking about near-death experiences here as none of the people I will mention experienced any kind of “white light”.

The first person I ever discussed this with was, Ronald Macdonald.  I’ve written about him before. His sister committed suicide. I mentioned he’d been in a catastrophic accident, a week prior to us meeting. I didn’t get into it, but he been in a horrific car accident and walked away.

You hear things like this, but I saw the car. It was so jaw-dropping, I took the time to look for a picture of his car, online, before I wrote this.  I thought it might have been preserved; it was that shocking.

The highway patrol made it very clear to him, he was touched as no one should have survived this particular accident.  I didn’t see it of course, just the pictures.  This was several decades ago, and I can tell you the car was black and looked like it went through a trash compactor. I started crying when he showed it to me.  Like that.

Post that accident, this man was spiritually awoken, so to speak. I don’t know the words, exactly, but he felt he’d been spared for a reason. He wanted to live up to whatever it was… his destiny.

I liked this kind of talk. It’s exactly what I would have thought and how I would have felt.  Right here, in my mid-twenties. I felt life was good and understandable. I’m in control, y’all!

A couple years later,  I met the Balloon Guy who is featured in my book.  He had his own version of a brush with death. He also felt compelled to become a better person. Again, I thought this was right  and the normal thing to have happen. I even thought I should have a brush with death, so I’d moved to become a better person too! I know I teeter on the the line. You know, with Mercury and Mars in the 9th house. I always seek higher ground; higher expression, but how does one pull their lard ass out of the 8th house? (laughs)

Life went on and I took my experiences with these men, with me. I thought I knew something about this!  But then I ran into a woman who had a brush with death.  She was spared, but she sure as hell wasn’t happy about it. Instead, she went from bitch to insufferable bitch and stupid as it may sound to you, I was shocked.

Yes, I realize I am impossibly naive at times, but I really was surprised at this.  Where is this new leaf, she’s supposed to turn over?  I was legit confused, so I called my friend, Ben, who is a great source of insight and wisdom.

He clarified things, immediately. He told me, the only reason the two men survived their crisis and came away with a positive mindset, was because they were that way to begin with. He said, he was sure something like this would have a positive impact on me, because I always want to do well and do right. He said the two men and I had this in common, but as I was learning, other people were not set up that way.

He went on to say, if a person is awful and has something like this happen, they become more awful – the crisis makes them MORE of how they are.  I took this to mean, the crisis empowered them (Pluto).  They came back from the ashes, an enhanced version of who they were to begin with.

This conversation dates back, several decades. Ben, himself, has had a brush with death (stroke).  Mulling writing this, I put in a call to ask him about his experience. I’m very curious what he’ll say! I just think it’s time to check in on this topic.

I will say, it explains, “me” to a large degree. I’m hell bent on do-gooding and “whatever doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”   You’ve all witnessed this phenomena for years.  Bad things that happen are processed and transformed… and published.

Have you ever had a brush with death? How did it leave you? What do you know about this?

10 thoughts on “How Does Life Change Post A Brush With Death?”

  1. Yes I had a brush with death and it kind of enhanced and confirmed what I already knew. Knew from experience, not the theory, on that I’m keeping an open mind until I die.

    I think it how people fare after an experience like this depends a lot on how they were introduced to the reality of death. Not people falling over in movies but death, in real. Whether it’s a pet dying or a family member or a friend, or next door neighbour in a car crash. The reaction of the people around, the various explanations given and whether it’s ‚we all die one day‘ or ,life is so horribly unfair‘.

    My Dad brought a dead crow from the garden and told me what it means that it’s now dead. I was sad but also grateful to be finally able to look at the animal closely and touch its feathers. When my mother passed away, I continued to talk to her. I said just wait for me, I’ll come to you when I’m done here.

    When my experience happened I had a very strong survival response, I wanted to live, the intensity of it (out of my control) surprised me. I witnessed my Dad and my husband passing, they both said I’m ready, I surrender.

    I don’t know how much of our responses are neurobiology and how much is conditioned and belief system. But certainly it’s an interplay of both. A theory I’m mulling is that our (conscious mind) relationship to our body plays a role. Are they at war or in love? It’s more complicated than that but loving and accepting embodiment or hating or being in fear of one’s own body makes a difference.

    Thank you for the article, very interesting and thought provoking.

  2. i had one seven years ago. i was like bubble boy in the icu for a few days. it was during my cancer bout. I came away from that experience both happy to be alive (crying at sunsets, petting every dog) and a bitter old bitch about people (pretty much everyone abandoned me during my illness). I distinctly remember anger being my main emotion for a good while after the ordeal. what the hell was any of this living for? all that love, all that trying- what a waste. Maybe Ive always been a bitter bitch underneath, and this just brought it up to the surface.

    1. Makes me think about anger in the context of cancer (and other bodily issues) whether hidden and turned inwards or expressed and turned outwards. I think the danger is when it’s at the level of rage turned inwards to the point of inaccesibility. Your response sounds healthy, like you were able to release it, but it took a crisis (which is often the way).

  3. I had a stroke 8 years ago. I realized it was happening and was taken to the ER. I had to convince the ER physicians that I knew when it happened so they would give me a clot busting drug. I was in ICU for 3 days and didn’t know what was going on for 2 of them. I’ve almost fully recovered. Before I was known as a volatile person who you were not to cross. After, I’m known as April 2.0. I’m calm and my world is mostly a happy place.

    I learned that being kind to people and yourself is the most important thing you can do.

  4. I have had a “brush with death.” It was pretty remarkable. I don’t know of anyone else who has survived what I went through. I’ve only heard stories of people who died that way. I chalk it up to Pluto transiting my Mars-Uranus, but I’m sure there’s more to it. I have so much to say on this topic, but it gets murky with the effects of my traumatic brain injury, so I usually just say nothing…unless I know someone will be able to relate.

    For me, it changed me for the better. I do consider it a “near death experience” mainly because of the spiritual awakening that occurred, even though I didn’t see any bright light or remember anything at all for that matter. Prior to the accident, I was full of doubt, unsure of my own beliefs, insecure with myself, and constantly judging others. After my accident, I felt connected to a divine source, full of purpose, ready for an honest relationship with my creator. The feeling was immediate, and then after a few months something clicked and I knew I could believe in God. A whole different world opened up to me after that, and my faith has grown and grown since then. It also left me with a new set of interests, which are completely contrary to my identity before the accident. I used to pay a lot of attention to appearances, aesthetic tastes, and other superficial matters, and I truly lost my ability to care about any of that. I still know how to use it as currency, but I find it totally boring. I became interested in 8th house stuff. I’m still trying to integrate that in a way that feels authentic… It’s like I turned into some kind of Jesus freak, but I don’t want to be lumped in with the other Jesus freaks!? (if that makes any sense.)

    I know that there’s never a good time for this sort of event, but the lesson may be to let go of the life that you had and lean into the gift of a new life. Life is a gift that most people only experience once, when they exit their mother’s womb. Receiving it at a later point in the human life cycle can be profound. I was 19, and being thrown off course at that time when I was supposed to become independent and make decisions for my future, was extremely difficult to navigate for me, and my parents, for a number of reasons. They didn’t put pressure on me like they normally would have at that age. It was like a traffic light turning from red to yellow, when we expected it to turn green. I’m thankful that I was forced to take time to recover from my injuries, but I didn’t properly grieve my losses at the time. The sentiment in my family was to just be happy that I was alive, and I just wanted to go back to my college life asap. I was able to recoup and keep moving forward extremely quickly, but I was masking. The shock was truly disorienting, and it took a while for the grief to really hit me. And then the waves came with greater frequency, stronger and stronger, until I couldn’t hide it any longer. This played out over more than 15 years, with so much struggle to keep my head above water. Now it’s been almost 18 years since my accident, so I’ve reached a sort of adulthood as my new self, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. It won’t be long until I’ve lived more of my life with the injuries (which still hurt, by the way) than without.

    “The crisis makes them more of how they were” This is interesting. I experienced more of a 180 degree shift – but my head injury is also a factor. Personality change is a symptom of that. My family said I became nicer (with the implication that I was not very nice to begin with). I definitely became more outwardly focused, less wrapped up in my own insecurities. More sensitive and compassionate. I’ve come to the conclusion that head injury exacerbates the human condition: all of the normal challenges of “executive function” become amplified. It’s an invisible injury so it’s hard for others to recognize the handicap, but it’s significant. I did always like helping people through community service, and that definitely increased after my *brush with death*

    Thank you for this post <3

  5. I had once, mostly in ‘someone was watching over me, vecause it sure was a stupid as fuck mistake to cross that lane when an ambulance was driving for it full speed’ kind of thing.

    I think that might be one of the close calls.

    You are probably right about this, Elsa. About being empowered by it – or expressing MORE of you, in whatever way.

    My dad had a brush too. He saw the white light. He wss talking to his guides (which he mistook for my mom, drunken arse that he is/was) … he did better for a period. Before the alcohol took over yet again. I think he xame back to say he was sorry about his abuse in my childhood. I feel dedinitely more at peace with it now. My dad … well, he has gone into a (probably) very alcoholic induced statenof being. I have no contact with him, of mybown choice. His behavior became too abusive again.
    He began actually threatening us with stories about how his connection to my granny (his mother) was filled with revenge/anger towards my mom forbleaving him.

    I think he was definittely NOT in contact with her, but had lost the soul of himself to alcohol and misogynistic thoughts.

    But from what I have heard – yes, people usually comes back with a divine purpose bwfore them. Either to help others (by becoming more psychicbor intuitive) or by sharing the stories about the other side with the rest of us. Or some third option in similar fashion.

  6. Too soon to say for certain. I’m not gonna pretend I’m out there doing extra good deeds or even returning my grocery cart since the incident but I’m not more of an @$$hole than I was before.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top